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MGMT

You And The Night (Original Soundtrack)

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Body Music

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Quack

Duck Sauce

Love Letters

Metronomy

Snow Globe

Erasure

Awake

Tycho

Tookah

Emiliana Torrini

II

Moderat

Confection

Sébastien Tellier

Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind)

Gary Numan

Singles

Future Islands

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JMSN

Shulamith

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V V Brown

Dreams

WhoMadeWho

Close to the Glass

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Mess

Liars

When The Night

St. Lucia

Apar

Delorean

War Room Stories

Breton

Slow Focus

Fuck Buttons

Glow

Royal Teeth

Top Albums

The Best Of Depeche Mode Volume 1

Depeche Mode

Awake

Tycho

Singles

Future Islands

Heartthrob

Tegan And Sara
Having wooed the world with their post-punk indie-rock sound, Canadian sisters Tegan and Sara Quinn decided to embrace a lighter and more synth-driven sound for album number seven. They may still sing about heartbreak, frustration and disappointment in songs like 'How Come You Don't Want Me?' and 'Goobye, Goodbye,' but the duo's lyrics are now lit up with a fresh layer of optimism that's a fine fit for the sparkling electro-pop production. This change of mood imbues the album with a pleasing buoyancy which pairs well with the sisters' enduring knack of coining a catchy killer hook. Heartthrob is a successful new direction.

Rory Ford, Google Play

Demon Days

Gorillaz
Damon Albarn went to great pains to explain that the first Gorillaz album was a collaboration between him, cartoonist Jamie Hewlett, and producer Dan the Automator, but any sort of pretense to having the virtual pop group seem like a genuine collaborative band was thrown out the window for the group's long-awaited 2005 sequel, Demon Days. Hewlett still provides new animation for Gorillaz -- although the proposed feature-length film has long disappeared -- but Dan the Automator is gone, leaving Albarn as the unquestioned leader of the group. This isn't quite similar to Blur, a genuine band that faltered after Graham Coxon decided he had enough, leaving Damon behind to construct the muddled Think Tank largely on his own. No, Gorillaz were always designed as a collective, featuring many contributors and producers, all shepherded by Albarn, the songwriter, mastermind, and ringleader. Hiding behind Hewlett's excellent cartoons gave Albarn the freedom to indulge himself, but it also gave him focus since it tied him to a specific concept. Throughout his career, Albarn always was at his best when writing in character -- to the extent that anytime he wrote confessionals in Blur, they sounded stagy -- and Gorillaz not only gave him an ideal platform, it liberated him, giving him the opportunity to try things he couldn't within the increasingly dour confines of Blur. It wasn't just that the cartoon concept made for light music -- on the first Gorillaz album, Damon sounded as if he were having fun for the first time since Parklife. But 2005 is a much different year than 2001, and if Gorillaz exuded the heady, optimistic, future-forward vibes of the turn of the millennium, Demon Days is as theatrically foreboding as its title, one of the few pop records made since 9/11 that captures the eerie unease of living in the 21st century. Not really a cartoony feel, in other words, but Gorillaz indulged in doom and gloom from their very first single, "Clint Eastwood," so this is not unfamiliar territory, nor is it all that dissimilar from the turgid moodiness of Blur's 2003 Think Tank. But where Albarn seemed simultaneously constrained and adrift on that last Blur album -- attempting to create indie rock, yet unsure how since messiness contradicts his tightly wound artistic impulses -- he's assured and masterful on Demon Days, regaining his flair for grand gestures that served him so well at the height of Britpop, yet tempering his tendency to overreach by keeping the music lean and evocative through his enlistment of electronica maverick Danger Mouse as producer.

Demon Days is unified and purposeful in a way Albarn's music hasn't been since The Great Escape, possessing a cinematic scope and a narrative flow, as the curtain unveils to the ominous, morose "Last Living Souls" and then twists and winds through valleys, detours, and wrong paths -- some light, some teeming with dread -- before ending up at the haltingly hopeful title track. Along the way, cameos float in and out of the slipstream and Albarn relies on several familiar tricks: the Specials are a touchstone, brooding minor key melodies haunt the album, there are some singalong refrains, while a celebrity recites a lyric (this time, it's Dennis Hopper). Instead of sounding like musical crutches, this sounds like an artist who knows his strengths and uses them as an anchor so he can go off and explore new worlds. Chief among the strengths that Albarn relies upon is his ability to find collaborators who can articulate his ideas clearly and vividly. Danger Mouse, whose Grey Album mash-up of the Beatles and Jay-Z was an underground sensation in 2004, gives this music an elasticity and creeping darkness than infects even such purportedly lighthearted moments as "Feel Good Inc." It's a sense of menace that's reminiscent of prime Happy Mondays, so it shouldn't be a surprise that one of the highlights of Demon Days is Shaun Ryder's cameo on the tight, deceptively catchy "Dare." Over a tightly wound four minutes, "Dare" exploits Ryder's iconic Mancunian thug persona within territory that belongs to the Gorillaz -- its percolating beat not too far removed from "19/2000" -- and that's what makes it a perfect distillation of Demon Days: by letting other musicians take center stage and by sharing credit with Danger Mouse, Damon Albarn has created an allegedly anonymous platform whose genius ultimately and quite clearly belongs to him alone. All the themes and ideas on this album have antecedents in his previous work, but surrounded by new collaborators, he's able to present them in a fresh, exciting way. And he has created a monster album here -- not just in its size, but in its Frankenstein construction. It not only eclipses the first Gorillaz album, which in itself was a terrific record, but stands alongside the best Blur albums, providing a tonal touchstone for this decade the way Parklife did for the '90s. While it won't launch a phenomenon the way that 1994 classic did -- Albarn is too much a veteran artist for that and the music is too dark and weird -- Demon Days is still one hell of a comeback for Damon Albarn, who seemed perilously close to forever disappearing into his own ego.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Megalithic Symphony

AWOLNATION
Following his group sojourns with major-label projects Home Town Hero (on Maverick) and Under the Influence of Giants (on Island), Aaron Bruno resurfaces as a one-man band (albeit with a lot of help, including longtime partner Drew Stewart) under the name AWOLNATION on Megalithic Symphony. A megalith is a large stone, so a megalithic symphony would seem to be an ambitious suite of rock music, and the album fits its title if one interprets the ambition as an unfettered eclecticism and sense of whimsy, as tethered to constant dance beats. Bruno seems to have built his tracks up from the percussion patterns, and once he got the beats he liked, he was willing to put whatever came to hand or mind on top. That includes poppy melodies supporting nonsense lyrics sung in falsetto or a gritty tenor, with plenty of goofy electronic sounds in between. The "anything goes" quality takes in an odd spoken word track ("Some Sort of Creature") and tracks that recall everything from Prince to Men Without Hats. (Remember "The Safety Dance"?) It all comes together on the 15-minute closer, "Knights of Shame," which begins with Bruno imploring, "Dance, baby, like the world is ending," continues through various sections including a rap by Cameron Duddy, and ends, after a minute or so of silence, with a hidden track that finds Bruno strumming his acoustic guitar and croaking, "It's been a long time waiting for you." What does it all mean? Who knows? But Megalithic Symphony engages the ear from moment to moment and allows Aaron Bruno to try out a variety of ideas, many of them half-baked, but all of them entertaining.

William Ruhlmann, Rovi

xx

the xx
Debuts as fully formed and confident as the xx's self-titled first album are rare, but then, there is very little that is typical about this band or their music. Their influences are wide-ranging -- traces of post-punk, dream pop, dubstep, indie pop, and R&B pop up at any given moment -- but are focused into songs that are as simple as they are unique and mysterious. These tracks are so sleek, they're practically sculptural, and they boast impeccably groomed arrangements. The beats pulse rather than crash; the guitars are artfully picked and plucked; and the vocals rarely rise above a wistful sigh. This restraint and sophistication make the fact that the xx's members were barely in their twenties when they recorded the album all the more impressive; artists twice their age would be proud to call the maturity and confidence that flow seemingly effortlessly through the xx their own. Even their song titles are the perfect mix of concise and evocative: "Stars," "Shelter," "Night Time" (actually, all of their songs could be named this -- they're that intimate and sleepily cool). The moody, monochromatic sound the xx sets forth on "Intro" is lovely enough, but it's how the band subtly shifts and tweaks it on each track that makes the album truly special. "VCR"'s innocent guitars hint at the band's fondness for Young Marble Giants' radically simple indie pop, while "Infinity" leans more heavily on their post-punk roots, and "Heart Skips a Beat" underscores its name with wittily fractured rhythms. And while singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim sound good on their solo turns (Sim particularly shines on the spacious "Fantasy"), together they're truly inspired -- the aloof sensuality they generate makes romantic intrigue actually intriguing again. "Crystalised" might be one of the more intense songs here, but it still carries the confessional quality of a conversation between lovers, reaffirming what "heart-to-heart" really means. The standout "Basic Space" takes Croft and Sim's push-pull chemistry in an even more pop direction, but it's still awash in subtly fascinating details like its exotically rolling beat and Durutti Column-esque guitars. While the band's subtlety and consistency threaten to work against them at times, XX is still a remarkable debut that rewards repeated listens and leaves listeners wanting more.

Heather Phares, Rovi

Plastic Beach

Gorillaz
Delivered five years after the delicate whimsical melancholy of Demon Days, Gorillaz's Plastic Beach is an explicit sequel to its predecessor, picking up in the dystopian future where the last album left off, its music offering a grand expansion of Demon Days, spinning off its cameo-crammed blueprint. A common thread among these tracks is they find Damon Albarn ceding the spotlight to his fellow musicians, preferring to be the puppetmaster behind the curtain, and Plastic Beach works best when he's finding hidden strengths within his guests. The album accentuates moody texture over pop hooks, and Plastic Beach is the first Gorillaz album to play like a cartoon soundtrack -- which isn't a bad thing, because as Albarn grows as a composer, he crafts richly detailed collages that are miniature marvels.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Secondhand Rapture

MS MR
"Hurricane" announced MS MR as a group equally inspired by Massive Attack and Adele: they're sleek, but not quite as aloof as pure trip-hop, and also fiery, if not as straightforward as the 21 chart-topper. MS MR explore this duality in their sound from a number of different angles, some more successfully than others, on their debut album Secondhand Rapture. They come close to a Top 40 sound on "Think of You," even with the chorus "I still think of you/And all the shit you put me through," and get filmic on "Bones," where brass and rolling timpani add an air of frosty majesty. Indeed, the duo's best moments play up the contrast between MS' passionate vocals and MR's intricate backdrops, as on "Dark Doo Wop" and especially "Salty Sweet," where harp, handclaps, and marimba complement one of MS' loosest, most appealing performances. Secondhand Rapture also shines when MS MR avoid the somewhat heavy-handed feel that creeps into a few of its tracks and let some air into their sound, which they do particularly well on the delicate ballad "This Isn't Control" and "Ash Tree Lane," where the lighter melody is especially flattering to MS' vocals. MS MR concentrate on a sullen yet sultry mood for the bulk of Secondhand Rapture, and while that delivers several notable tracks -- "Fantasy" and "Head Is Not My Home" chief among them -- at times it's almost too much. Still, the album's strongest tracks show that the duo has plenty of talent and potential.

Heather Phares, Rovi

Gorillaz

Gorillaz
It's tempting to judge Gorillaz -- Damon Albarn, Tank Girl creator Jamie Hewlett, and Dan "The Automator" Nakamura's virtual band -- just by their brilliantly animated videos and write the project off as another triumph of style over substance. Admittedly, Hewlett's edgy-cute characterizations of 2-D, Gorillaz' pretty boy singer (who looks a cross between the Charlatans' Tim Burgess and Sonic the Hedgehog), sinister bassist Murdoc, whiz-kid guitarist Noodle, and b-boy drummer Russel are so arresting that they almost detract from Gorillaz' music. The amazing "Thriller"-meets-Planet of the Apes clip for "Clint Eastwood" is so visually clever that it's easy to take the song's equally clever, hip-hop-tinged update of the Specials' "Ghost Town" for granted. And initially, Gorillaz' self-titled debut feels incomplete when Hewlett's imagery is removed; the concept of Gorillaz as a virtual band doesn't hold up as well when you can't see the virtual bandmembers. It's too bad that there isn't a DVD version of Gorillaz, with videos for every song, à la the DVD version of Super Furry Animals' Rings Around the World. Musically, however, Gorillaz is a cutely caricatured blend of Albarn's eclectic Brit-pop and Nakamura's equally wide-ranging hip-hop, and it sounds almost as good as the band looks. Albarn has fun sending up Blur's cheeky pop on songs like "5/4" and "Re-Hash," their trip-hop experiments on "New Genious" and "Sound Check," and "Song 2"-like thrash-pop on "Punk" and "M1 A1." Despite the similarities between Albarn's main gig and his contributions here, Gorillaz isn't an Albarn solo album in disguise; Nakamura's bass- and beat-oriented production gives the album an authentically dub and hip-hop-inspired feel, particularly on "Rock the House" and "Tomorrow Comes Today." Likewise, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Miho Hatori, and Ibrahim Ferrer's vocals ensure that it sounds like a diverse collaboration rather than an insular side project. Instead, it feels like a musical vacation for all parties involved -- a little self-indulgent, but filled with enough fun ideas and good songs to make this virtual band's debut a genuinely enjoyable album.

Heather Phares, Rovi

Electra Heart

Marina and The Diamonds
Described by singer Marina Diamandis as sounding like "a really cinematic 70s Americana-type film" and divided into three parts, Electra Heart is the follow-up to 2010’s The Family Jewels from Marina and the Diamonds. Lead single “Primadonna” blends gentle pop with hard-hitting electro beats to create the backdrop for Diamandis’ sultry melodies, setting the unpredictable, compelling tone for the record., Rovi

Oracular Spectacular

MGMT
When MGMT were asked by their record label for a list of their dream producers, with low expectations they sarcastically replied: Prince, Nigel Godrich, Barack Obama, and "not Sheryl Crow." Columbia returned with Dave Fridmann, the producer extraordinaire best known for his work with Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev. In typical Fridmann fashion, Oracular Spectacular is a glamorous mega-production through and through. Drums are massively distorted and shimmering keyboards are articulately layered as he takes the reins, leading the duo through his daisy chain of onboard compressors, delay units, and whatever other mysterious studio gizmos and gadgets he uses to get his trademark sound. Expectedly, the 14-karat polish enhances MGMT's blend of psychedelic and indie-electro to a shiny sonic gleam, resulting in some of the catchiest pop songs to come from N.Y.C. since the turn of the millennium. The tunes sound classic and new all at once, paying homage to Bowie, the Kinks, and the Stones, while updating traditional progressions with flashes of Royal Trux, Ween, and LCD Soundsystem. It's a wonderful mess of musical ideas, ranging from the dancy disco thump and Bee Gees falsetto of "Electric Feel" to the gritty acoustic-based "Pieces of What," to the grimy synth groove on the anthemic "Time to Pretend." With tongues planted firmly in cheeks, sardonic wit is as abundant as Andrew Van Wyngarden and Ben Goldwasser spoof the stereotypical rock & roll lifestyle with lines like "Lets make some music, make some money, find some models for wives/I'll go to Paris take some heroin and fuck with the stars." Despite the ever-present irony, the songs never feel insincere and the record is inherently strong throughout, making it a solid start to their career.

Jason Lymangrover, Rovi

Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Various Artists
The soundtrack for Danish crime thriller Drive, composed and compiled by ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers and Captain Beefheart drummer Cliff Martinez (Sex, Lies & Videotape, Solaris), skillfully blends icy, Krautrock-inspired electronica with retro-'80s synth pop. Opening with “Nightcall,” a moody, scene-chewing slab of Air and Röyksopp-induced electro-pop from French DJ Vincent Belorgay (aka Kavinsky), Drive rolls along on the strength of Martinez's spooky, Blade Runner-esque score, and cruises along effortlessly on a foundation of clock-like percussion, swooning synths worthy of an M83 album, and an independent spirit that tips its hat to nostalgia while careening over the guardrail into the future.

James Christopher Monger, Rovi

Eyelid Movies

Phantogram
Seeing that the New York duo Phantogram’s debut album is on Barsuk, one might assume they are gentle indie rockers or, since they are a male/female duo, maybe something along the lines of Mates of State. You might not guess that they are trip-hop revivalists. They are though, and Eyelid Movies sounds like nothing other than a lost Mono or Alpha record. All the hallmarks of the trip-hop sound are here: the hip-hop drum loops, the off-kilter guitar lines that sound like they were sampled from spy films, actual samples that probably are from old film scores, the dreamily atmospheric synths that cushion the beats like fluffy pillows, and most of all, vocalist Sarah Barthel’s whisper-sweet vocals. To the duo’s credit, the sound totally works and the record sounds less like a rip than it does a loving re-creation. Songs like "As Far as I Can See" or "When I’m Small" sound as good as anything trip-hoppers back in 1993 were doing. Plus, they add some elements to the basic template that help make things interesting, especially on the songs that Josh Carter sings. "Turn It Off" ups the tempo and adds chopped-up vocal loops, "Bloody Palms" adds a level of angry drama the rest of that album lacks, and most impressively "You Are the Ocean" is a rippling guitar-based dream pop ballad that shows a healthy knowledge of A.R. Kane’s catalog. Eyelid Movies is a nostalgia trip at heart, but it isn’t a lifeless pastiche by any means. The amount of care the duo gives to the arrangements, the subtle and successful blending of influences, and above all, the high quality of the songs and performances, mean that the record is a success on its own terms.

Tim Sendra, Rovi

Quack

Duck Sauce

Hurry Up We're Dreaming

M83
M83's Anthony Gonzalez took his time delivering the follow-up to 2008's much-loved Saturdays=Youth, but it was worth it: Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is a sprawling double album that reaffirms M83's dreamy romanticism while setting off for bold new territory. Gonzalez collaborated with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Medicine's Brad Laner, Zola Jesus, and longtime vocalist Morgan Kibby, allowing him to explore as many musical options as possible. Lead single "Midnight City" is an epic sweep of neon synthesizers; "Intro" makes a bold statement with Zola Jesus' vocal cameo; elsewhere, Gonzalez's own singing ranges from a whisper to a scream. Unashamedly ambitious and emotional, this album defines M83's artistic spirit., Rovi

Shrines

Purity Ring
While whimsical, female-voiced electronic pop was all the rage when Purity Ring's debut album Shrines was released, the duo still managed to stand out from the crowd. While their sweetly chilly sound falls somewhere between Grimes' intricate quirks and the rhapsodic wordplay and sensuality of Braids, Purity Ring's individuality comes from the equal partnership of Megan James' girlish vocals and unusual lyrics, and Corin Roddick's playful electronic soundscapes. Shrines makes good on the promise of the songs the duo previously issued online, which remain highlights: "Fineshrine" may still be the quintessential Purity Ring song, with James entreating the listener to "cut open my sternum and poke" as Roddick's backdrop flits between gentle and ominous; many of James' songs are focused on the body, treating it with almost spiritual wonder as on the dark, Crystal Castles-like "Belispeak." Meanwhile, "Ungirthed" remains a showcase for the duo's fascination with ultra-bright electronic tones that add to Shrines' largely, if deceptively, innocent feel. These songs and "Amenamy" and "Obedear" could be from the soundtrack to some fantastical anime series yet to be written, but just when the album threatens to become a little too sweet and samey for its own good, Roddick and James reveal new levels to Purity Ring's sound. "Lofticries"' more sophisticated melody and "Cartographist"'s eerie atmosphere and fractured beats hint at a depth that should serve the duo well. As it stands, Shrines is a fine debut, full of lighter-than-air synth pop that manages to be dark, sparkling, innocent, and knowing all at once.

Heather Phares, Rovi

Ocean Eyes

Owl City
Filled with bubbling electronics and light, G-rated club anthems, Ocean Eyes sets its sights on the MySpace generation, targeting the younger siblings of those who bought the Postal Service's Give Up six years earlier. This is computerized pop music, replete with programmed drum loops, digital symphonies, and all the amenities of modern recording software. Only Adam Young's vocals carry a hint of human presence, and his fanciful lyrics -- which turn even the most mundane content (see "Dental Care," a good ol' fashioned ode to oral hygiene) into whimsy -- serve to strengthen the album's escapist appeal. Such syrupy sweetness builds to a feverish pitch throughout the album's 12 tracks, peaking during the viral sensation "Hello Seattle" and the number one single "Fireflies." Those who don't have a sweet tooth should stay away, but Ocean Eyes will serve as a tasty dessert for those who can stomach it. [The album was reissued one year later as a double-disc record, with seven bonus cuts added to the existing track list.]

Andrew Leahey, Rovi

London

BANKS

Violator

Depeche Mode
In a word, stunning. Perhaps an odd word to use given that Violator continued in the general vein of the previous two studio efforts by Depeche Mode: Martin Gore's upfront lyrical emotional extremism and knack for a catchy hook filtered through Alan Wilder's ear for perfect arrangements, ably assisted by top English producer Flood. Yet the idea that this record would both dominate worldwide charts, while song for song being simply the best, most consistent effort yet from the band could only have been the wildest fantasy before its release. The opening two singles from the album, however, signaled something was up. First was "Personal Jesus," at once perversely simplistic, with a stiff, arcane funk/hip-hop beat and basic blues guitar chords, and tremendous, thanks to sharp production touches and David Gahan's echoed, snaky vocals. Then "Enjoy the Silence," a nothing-else-remains-but-us ballad pumped up into a huge, dramatic romance/dance number, commanding in its mock orchestral/choir scope. Follow-up single "Policy of Truth" did just fine as well, a low-key Motown funk number for the modern day with a sharp love/hate lyric to boot. To top it all off, the album itself scored on song after song, from the shuffling beat of "Sweetest Perfection" (well sung by Gore) and the ethereal "Waiting for the Night" to the guilt-ridden-and-loving-it "Halo" building into a string-swept pounder. "Clean" wraps up Violator on an eerie note, all ominous bass notes and odd atmospherics carrying the song. Goth without ever being stupidly hammy, synth without sounding like the clinical stereotype of synth music, rock without ever sounding like a "rock" band, Depeche here reach astounding heights indeed.

The Singles

Soft Cell
The original and still the best single-disc Soft Cell compilation (at least up through the band's long-awaited reactivation in 2001), The Singles 1981-1985 is just what it says it is, and what a collection it is. Along with other genre- and era-defining compilations such as Depeche Mode's similarly titled singles disc and Visage's best-of, The Singles 1981-1985 captures the sheer luxuriant thrill and shock of England's early-'80s electro-pop boom. Even more to the point, though, it also stands up perfectly in later years, instantly catchy as well as shockingly surprising and exciting pop that managed to be both rooted in the past and perfectly of the moment and beyond. That so many of these songs were big hits in England testifies to the band's accidental but spot-on appeal; that most didn't repeat such success in America is a downright shame. "Tainted Love," unsurprisingly, remains the eternal defining moment of the duo's career and appears here in its short edit, but the collection in fact begins with the equally impressive, frenetic electro-disco fusion "Memorabilia" and takes things from there. Only a couple of the singles were actual misfires -- Almond himself later said the cover of "What!" was suggested by a record company hoping for another fluke remake hit -- while the majority bear perfect testimony to both Almond's passionate singing and impressive lyrics and Ball's ear for great arrangements and melodies. The absolutely dead-on slice-of-life "Bedsitter," the astonishing, spotlight-grabbing romantic angst of "Say Hello Wave Goodbye," the slow burn of the spectacularly underrated "Torch," the sheer frenetic collapse of "Soul Inside" -- just four highlights among many. An appreciative essay from English critic Tony Mitchell makes for a nice overall touch. All three original albums remain fascinating collections for even casual fans to explore, while the hardcore need to have The Twelve-Inch Singles compilation, but if there's one record that's absolutely hands-down necessary, The Singles 1981-1985 is it.

Ned Raggett, Rovi

Greatest

Duran Duran
Twenty years since their pop music debut, Duran Duran issued another greatest-hits collection. As if 1989's Decade weren't stellar enough, this select package was much more solid. Greatest showcased the band's early days of glam rock décor and new romanticism to the alluring sophistication Duran Duran exuded throughout the '90s. The typical synth-powered pop hits are included -- "Girls on Film," "Rio," "A View to a Kill" -- as well as the signature ballads -- "Save a Prayer" -- but it might also receive criticism due to its chronological disarray. Still, that gives no reason to fret, for other goodies can be found throughout. The much-neglected "New Moon on Monday" is featured, as well as the band's mature eclecticism of such songs from the self-titled Wedding Album -- "Ordinary World" and "Come Undone." The band's experimentation with new millennium electronica found on "Electric Barbarella" again refocuses on Simon LeBon as the center of the band. A continuity blatantly obvious on Greatest and the strong commercialism that progressed throughout the band's healthy evolvement is not denied. Those chart-smashing singles from the 1980s made them a force to be reckoned with and an arena favorite. The songs are nearly ageless and they get their due here. It's a cheeky production and a definitive depiction of one of rock's biggest pop bands.

MacKenzie Wilson, Rovi

Coexist

the xx
For all the talk that The xx's second album would be more influenced by the beat-driven remix and production work that band member Jamie Smith has done since 2009's self-titled debut, Coexist sticks largely to the UK indie-electronic trio's already well-established strength: restraint. As ever, The xx mine a vein of minimalism in which the smallest moves make massive impacts: a sliding, single-string guitar lead or bobbing bass line; the inviting space in-between Smith's spare but kinetic beats; the sensual tension between Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim's gently tug-of-warring vocals. There are fresh elements here—the wavering steel drums and muffled, clacking beat of "Reunion," the resounding piano chords on "Swept Away"—and maybe some new confidence to Croft and Sim's singing—but for the most part Coexist doubles down and further distills The xx's singularly subtle allure.

Eric Grandy, Google Play

Endless Fantasy

Anamanaguchi

Top Songs

Sail

AWOLNATION

Somebody That I Used To Know

Gotye

Too Close

Alex Clare

Midnight City

M83

Wicked Games (Explicit)

The Weeknd

Paper Planes

M.I.A.

Fireflies

Owl City

Clint Eastwood

Gorillaz

Electric Feel

MGMT

Sail (Unlimited Gravity Remix)

AWOLnation

Intro

the xx

Lights (Single Version)

Ellie Goulding

Bird Machine

DJ Snake feat. Alesia

Tainted Love

Soft Cell

Bonfire

Knife Party

Take a Walk

Passion Pit

Young Blood

The Naked And Famous

Kids

MGMT

Hurricane

MS MR

Closer

Tegan And Sara

Not Your Fault

AWOLNATION

Walking On A Dream

Empire Of The Sun

Like A G6

Far East Movement